Missing man found dead on Gary service road

2013-02-21T21:15:00Z 2013-02-21T22:22:10Z Missing man found dead on Gary service roadElvia Malagon elvia.malagon@nwi.com, (219) 933-3246 nwitimes.com
February 21, 2013 9:15 pm  • 

GARY | A man who had been missing since January was found dead Thursday on a Cline Avenue service road in Gary, police said.

A scrap collector was walking along the road about 12:30 p.m. when he came across the body on the ground and called police.

Lonnie Watkins, 61, of the 400 block of Durbin Street in Gary, was identified as the person who died, according to a release from the Lake County coroner's office. The cause of death is under investigation.

Gary police Cpl. Gabrielle King said officers haven't determined how long he had been dead because of weather conditions.

His family first reported him missing Jan. 13 after he was last seen Jan. 9 in the area of Fourth Avenue and Durbin Street in Gary.

He was headed to a relative's house in the 700 block of Burr Street, but all family members found when they went to search for him was his bicycle and a lit candle inside the building.

His mother, Clara Watkins, 81, said in January that her son had just been released from the hospital days before he went missing. He was last seen wearing a hospital bracelet, and she described him as weak.

King said the service road runs parallel to Cline Avenue but not many people travel on it. She said the road is known for people dumping objects.

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